Throne Speech 2022, Delivered By Governor General, Dame Cecile La Grenada

Introduction 

Madame President, Mr. Speaker, Members of Parliament. 

The new Government of Grenada embarks on this First Session of  the Eleventh Parliament at a time of renewed hope for the nation.  Amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic and an uncertain  economic future, the people of Grenada chose to take control of  their destiny — opting for transformation and the aspiration of a  better tomorrow. 

This spirit of empowerment is the essence of what my Government  intends to nurture as we seek to build, together, a just nation in  which every individual has an equal opportunity to realise his or  her full potential.  

To achieve this, my Government’s transformative vision  directly addresses our nation’s social and economic challenges.  Transformation in the education and health sectors are crucial  components in this process of change, as healthy minds and  bodies are the foundation on which we must build to achieve  sustainable growth and an improved quality of life for all citizens.  Transformation to our national development model is also critical  as my Government seeks to combat poverty, foster a sense of pride  in our heritage and natural resources, and assume our rightful  place among the community of nations. 

Consistent with the foregoing, our theme for this new Session  of Parliament is: “Transformative Development: Towards a  Sustainable, Equitable and Prosperous Grenada.” 

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

My Government’s programme to transform Grenada will provide  a balanced and integrated approach to sustainable development,  consistent with my Government’s thrust for a sustainable, equitable  and prosperous Grenada for all. This is aligned with “Vision 2035”  

Grenada, a resilient and prosperous nation, with a conscious and caring  citizenry, promoting human dignity, and realising its full potential  through sustainable economic, social, and environmental progress for all.” 

To transform Grenada, my Government will focus on the holistic  development of our people, ensuring that they are equipped and  able to produce and deliver new and improved goods and services,  utilising modern methods and techniques and generating new  sources of employment and income. To this end, my Government  will be driven by five overarching pillars: 

  1. Citizen Empowerment 
  2. Economic Transformation 
  3. Governance and Institutional Rebuilding  
  4. Environmental Management 
  5. Foreign Policy 

Priorities for the first year are intended to be results-oriented,  focusing on the implementation of strategic programmes, projects,  and policies to gain the maximum benefits from the resources that  are available. Rather than making wish lists and setting overly  ambitious targets, my Government will focus instead on identifying  priority areas for investment in different sectors. Through this  approach, resources can be efficiently channelled to areas with the  greatest need.  

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

My Government is keenly aware that there is tremendous work to  be done in the areas of primary health care and access to quality  health services. 

Improving public health surveillance and data collection across  the health system is a priority for my Government. Dialogue with  development partners and key stakeholders has already begun,  with the aim of determining the most effective approaches to  upgrade the national health infrastructure, and fully implement the  National Health Insurance Scheme. 

My Government also recognises the need to promote healthy  living standards and wellness, through food and nutrition security,  meditation, and exercise. These are essential components to  facilitate preventative lifestyle and behaviour practices, which  foster positive social outcomes. Thus, there will be a strong policy  focus on preventative, curative and rehabilitative health services.  

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting economic fallout,  negatively affected the mental health of many, and heightened the  risk for people already suffering from mental illness and substance  use disorders. My Government is committed to combating the  stigma of mental illness and intends to collaborate with stakeholders  to create safe spaces, across the island, where afflicted persons may  seek treatment and repose.  

In collaboration with relevant stakeholders, including St. George’s  University, my Government further intends to construct a new,  modern public hospital with teaching facilities as the centrepiece of  the development of the Education, Health, and the Wellness Sector.  

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

My Government believes that our human resources are our most  precious asset and a fundamental contributor to the social and  economic development of our nation. My Government recognises  education as a basic right and will take the necessary steps to ensure  free universal education up to the community college level. 

My Government is dedicated to steering the course towards  transforming this country from one of underdevelopment and  deprivation to one where all citizens can improve their living  standards and quality of life — through equal access to education,  training, and employment opportunities. Key to this is the holistic  development of our young people. My Government intends to  expand the core curriculum around components that build life  skills, encourage critical thinking and independent learning, and  foster lifelong learning attitudes in our students, teachers, leaders,  and community members. 

My Government will prioritise education infrastructure;  technological capacity; and education financing. These priority  areas seek to strengthen systems that support blended learning  modalities in schools and will include training for teachers and  administrators. 

Additionally, my Government will invest in vocational skills and  training to address the disconnect between the skill sets offered in  schools, the specific development needs of our country, and labour  market trends. My Government is also committed to providing  second chance opportunities to all youth who did not complete a  primary, secondary, or tertiary education. 

As it pertains to youth empowerment and deployment, my  Government intends to re-imagine the IMANI program to provide  more industry-ready training opportunities that will lead to  sustainable employment. My Government is excited about the new  and ambitious initiatives that are being developed, to be rolled out  in the next few years. 

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

The unemployment and poverty rates among citizens continue  to be affected by volatile global events. My Government remains  committed to cushioning the impact of external economic shocks  on our people, especially the most vulnerable, as long as it is  warranted.  

At a more strategic level, my Government will take a comprehensive,  coherent, and systematic approach to protecting and empowering  the most vulnerable in our society. Accordingly, the pillars of our  social services architecture will be substantially bolstered to focus  not only on social protection, but also on empowering our most  vulnerable.  

My Government will retain the Support for Education  Empowerment and Development (“SEED”) and other Social Safety  Net Programmes. The scope and delivery of these core social programmes will also be enhanced, and the inclusion of holistic  and genuine community empowerment, particularly in rural  communities, will be prioritised. 

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

It is important to note that Grenada has a youthful population, with  over fifty percent (50%) of Grenadians aged 18 to 35. Youth will  therefore play an integral part in national development, providing  significant contributions to a growing labour force. In addition  to core social programmes, my Government intends to invest  in training and development opportunities for young people,  fostering an environment where youth have access to the support  and facilities needed, to break the cycle of unemployment and  poverty. 

My Government further recognises that land ownership plays  a significant role in the development of generational wealth  and intends to forge strategic partnerships to provide quality,  affordable, climate-resilient Grenadian-styled family homes for  our people. Special priority will be given to satisfying the housing  demand for people in the lowest income bracket and youth.  

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

My Government is committed to building a solid foundation to  grow a more vibrant, dynamic, inclusive, and resilient economy.  In 2023, investments will be prioritised to enable transformative  shifts in the traditional productive sectors, while simultaneously  supporting the expansion of the new areas of economic growth.  Particularly, emphasis will be placed on value addition and export  sophistication of our agricultural and tourism products.  

My Government’s transformational agricultural policy will focus  on food security by supporting local production and bolstering agro  processing. This policy feeds into my Government’s overarching  goal to reduce Grenada’s food import bill and nurture a society  where citizens turn to local food sources. As such, a national campaign that highlights the quality and benefits of locally grown  produce will also be explored as my Government seeks to change  the mindset surrounding imported food items.  

Hence, my Government’s thrust to do the following:  

  • Implement the Spice Replanting Programme and Plant-a Tree Campaign  
  • Enhance the Mirabeau Agricultural School  
  • Restructure the Marketing and National Importing Board  (MNIB), to focus on Agricultural Support, Marketing and  Procurement Services in collaboration with farmers and  commodity boards  
  • Develop an Agro Processing Services Unit to provide advice,  coordinate, and assist entrepreneurs in the development and  packaging of their products.  

Moreover, my Government recognises the need for appropriate  pricing of essential public services, such as electricity, to increase  the competitiveness of firms, and by extension Grenada’s economic  competitiveness. 

My Government understands that small businesses are the lifeblood  of our economy and have the potential to allow our country to  weather global economic shocks. Therefore, my Government will  promote innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting micro,  small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs); socially owned  enterprises, such as co-operatives; and village economies that are  all critical for economic transformation, inclusive growth, and job  creation.  

Further, my Government will invest in the emerging sector of the  Cannabis Industry. Cannabis will be legalised and a legal and  regulatory framework for its production and sale will be created  to commence and guide the development of the industry. Focus  will be on the medical and industrial uses of the plant, to create  employment, and generate foreign exchange. 

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

The reopening of borders and our recent Spicemas celebrations  have given a much-needed boost to our tourism sector. Although  the effects of the pandemic can still be felt, plans are underway to  develop a globally competitive tourism sector that will make a more  substantial contribution to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP),  enhance employment opportunities, and build local capacity.  

To this end, my Government intends to collaborate with partners in  the tourism industry to establish and operate a first-class training  institute that will improve the delivery of high-quality service in  the tourism industry and provide on and off-island training for  young Grenadians to be competitive in the sector. 

Further, my Government will continue to work with all stakeholders,  including the Grenada Tourism Authority, to bolster Grenada’s  presence in the established source markets and promote high-end  stay-over visitors. The possibility of providing special incentives for  development projects in rural communities will also be explored. 

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

Culture is the channel for expression of the rich and unique identity  of a people and should instill in us all tremendous pride. My  Government is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of  Grenadian culture and intends to reinforce local traditions through  the creation of institutions dedicated to honouring our heritage.  

My Government will also seek to trademark aspects of our culture  that are uniquely Grenadian, with the aim of protecting our  authentic and long-standing traditions and patrimony for future  generations. 

My Government is also committed to imbuing a new generation  with an appreciation for traditions that are truly Grenadian, thereby  fostering a sense of connection and continuity with our past. To this end, cultural studies are currently being integrated into the  education curriculum and an enhancement fund will be established  to support the development of cultural products.  

Pivotally, my Government will establish a School for the Performing  Arts and reintroduce the National Arts Festival, to encourage a  spirit of healthy competition among our young artistes, while  helping them to hone their talents in song, poetry, prose, drama,  and dance.  

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

The excellence of Grenadian sportsmen and women on the global  stage has solidified the quality and discipline of our athletes and  highlighted the ability of this industry to empower our young  people, connect our communities and build our sense of national  pride. The sporting industry also has the potential to be highly  profitable, providing avenues to education, travel, and stable  employment for our citizens.  

My Government is fully committed to supporting the success of  our athletes through the development of a Sports Tourism sector  and the upgrade and implementation of the National Sports Policy  to guide the planning, development, and administration of all  sporting activities in Grenada. Strategic investments in state-of 

the-art sporting facilities, training, and physiotherapy services, in  addition to financial and educational assistance, will also serve to  prepare our young sportsmen and women to play a vanguard role  in the revolution in sports. 

Further, my Government intends to implement a “Pay For Play”  System, where national teams and sports personalities are paid  a monthly stipend when on national training and representing  Grenada. 

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

My Government remains committed to the development of a robust  ICT and Digital Economy to keep Grenada abreast with the rest of  the region, and indeed the world, in the conduct and ease of doing  business. 

A strong Digital Economy supports my Government’s overall  strategy to address unemployment and provides avenues for  citizens to earn foreign capital without leaving our shores.  My Government recognises the global thrust towards remote  employment, especially in the creative sector, and welcomes the  global opportunities that are now available to Grenadians. My  Government intends to actively seek out opportunities for further  studies and training in areas such as coding, film, and multimedia,  in addition to other digital and creative fields, to support the  development of the creative economy. Improving data integrity,  as well as strengthening and modernising data systems, are also a  priority. 

As my Government moves towards a paperless future, the  understanding and use of ICT will be critical. Therefore, training  in the use of computing technologies to conduct basic business will  be made available to all citizens at the community level, to ensure  that they are appropriately equipped to function in the new digital  environment. 

Additionally, my Government will work with our internet service  providers to establish a network of Free Wireless Access Points  in every community, school, government office, tourism site and  recreational park. 

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

Public investments will prioritise the infrastructure development,  rehabilitation, and maintenance needed to guarantee optimal use  of our physical assets and ensure that our economy, society and  environment benefit from quality, modern, and climate-resilient  infrastructure. 

My Government recognises that adequate and efficient infrastruc ture improves other sectors, such as healthcare and the environment.  Accordingly, special emphasis will be placed on the systematic  planning of projects in urban and rural areas, ensuring that they are  supported by technical studies, including environmental impact  assessments and cost benefit analyses.  

My Government is firmly committed to increasing value for  money in public procurement and prioritising productive and  efficient spending to enhance the results-oriented Public Sector  Investment Programme. Importantly, my Government is mindful  that infrastructure costs are likely to remain high and will possibly  increase in the context of rampant global inflation, and as such,  active expenditure and contract management of infrastructure  works will be prioritised.  

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

Our sister isles are endowed with rich natural and human resources,  exhibit pristine beauty, and hold rich historical roots. Carriacou  and Petite Martinique are our connection to the Grenadines and  facilitate the ease of inter-island travel. Thus, my Government  remains committed to pursuing efficient, reliable, and cost-effective  transportation services; that is, airlift, including night landing, and  the daily operations of the Osprey ferry.  

Moreover, my Government will implement a Local Government  Authority in Carriacou and Petite Martinique and prioritise  infrastructure development and an equal provision of resources  for social, economic, and human development, with an aim for  increased efficiencies and its economic stability. 

The small size of Carriacou and Petite Martinique make the islands  uniquely positioned to serve as transformation hubs, allowing  for pilot programme testing in the areas of renewable energy and  aspects of the blue economy – fishing and marine industries. 

The blue economy holds tremendous potential to broaden,  diversify and generate sustainable economic growth for Grenada.  My Government views the fisheries and marine sector as a viable  livelihood for many citizens and intends to position our country as  a processing centre for fish exports destined to key international  markets. Also, in support of expansive economic growth, my  Government will explore potential sectors including aquaculture,  waste disposal, marine biotechnology, ocean renewable energy,  coral farming, sustainable fisheries, bioprospecting, and marine  eco-tourism, among others.  

Notwithstanding, my Government is aware that the exploitation  of coastal and marine resources must be done in a responsible  manner to preserve the vitally important resources provided by  these ecosystems. Consequently, my Government will establish a  mechanism where marine resources are monitored to ensure the  natural regeneration of aquatic life in areas where such life has  been depleted. 

Accordingly, my Government will develop and implement a  National Fishing Support Program for local Fishermen aimed at  providing better training in modern sustainable fishing techniques.  

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

Climate adaptation and mitigation are crucial priorities for my  Government. Our land, coastal and marine areas are finite resources  which need not only protection, but preservation. My Government  will increase emphasis on policies and activities that will lead to  the protection of our environment, in particular the health of our  coastal waters, the conservation of critical ecosystems for wildlife,  and the quality and sustainability of our water supply.  

My Government will promote a national culture that appreciates  the need to maintain balance between human needs and  environmental sustainability. In support of this, my Government  intends to implement a reforestation program throughout Grenada  and encourage the creation of green spaces.

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

Dependence on traditional energy sources, like crude oil, places  Grenada in a vulnerable position given the direct correlation to  increase in electricity prices, food costs, and other gas and energy  related products. My Government will invest in alternative  and renewable energy and create avenues for the use of solar,  geothermal, wind and hydro energy, targeted at lowering the cost  of energy to consumers.  

My Government will create legislation that allows citizens to  implement alternative energy sources/products in their businesses  and homes. To ensure viability, my Government intends to  incentivise individuals and businesses that undertake and fully  implement this venture.  

My Government, with support from the World Bank, will launch  a major energy efficiency project in public buildings, which will  not only reduce Grenada’s carbon footprint but result in significant  savings in electricity costs. 

Furthermore, my Government is currently working with the  World Bank in the area of climate change budget tagging, with  the strategic objective of categorising, measuring, and monitoring  climate-relevant public expenditure, to better identify and mobilise  fiscal resources toward climate resilience building. 

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

My Government is committed to pursuing a foreign policy that  is anchored in democratic principles and good governance. My  Government values the mutually beneficial relationships Grenada  maintains with bilateral and multilateral partners and intends to  continue these engagements in support of the implementation of  our developmental priorities. My Government will also seek to  forge new international relationships that align with its national  transformation agenda.

Trade is an area of critical importance for my Government as the  nation seeks to augment production in the marine and fishing, and  agro processing sectors. Therefore, beneficial trade relationships that  provide opportunities for growth, development and the creation of  sustainable jobs will be explored, with a view to expanding and  diversifying our export base. 

My Government acknowledges the significant achievements  towards regional integration in the Caribbean and welcomes these  advancements. My Government supports a coordinated regional  foreign policy approach to engage the rest of the world and pledges  to continue Grenada’s commitment to the integration process by  supporting regional institutions, such as the Caribbean Community  (CARICOM); the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS);  the Association of Caribbean States (ACS); and the Community of  Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), all of which seek  the betterment of our peoples. 

My Government further recognises the key role that the Grenadian  Diaspora plays in representing Grenada’s culture and talent in  countries around the globe and intends to harness the input and  contribution of this community, to build foreign partnerships and  support local industry.  

My Government is committed to the inclusion of all Grenadians  in the process of national development, regardless of political  affiliation. Engagements to encourage increased input and expertise  from this community has already begun. A call for Grenadians  to serve on local Boards was met with overwhelming support,  receiving over 1,600 applications, comprising persons in Grenada  and from the Diaspora, some of whom have already been selected  and appointed to serve on the Boards. 

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

The promotion of good governance, accountability and  citizens’ genuine and active participation in the governance and  development process are key priorities for my Government. In this regard, specific focus will be given to strengthening public  sector governance through coherent and systematic modernisation  and reforms that are aimed at increasing citizens’ confidence in  the public sector – which in turn can contribute to enhancing its  effectiveness and image, while promoting accountability.  

My Government intends to lead by example and will honour the  Constitution and the ruling of the High Court on the payment of  pensions to citizens. Plans to this end are already in motion and the  first payments are expected to begin in November, 2022. Pension  reform will also be a key part of my Government’s plan to ensure  a fiscally sound pension and social security system for public  workers. My Government has also prioritised and honoured its  commitment to repay $1.2 Million in docked salaries to teachers  and other public officers. In addition, my Government has begun  the process to regularise the status of unestablished and contract  workers operating within the Public Service. 

Transformation through self-reliance and the creation of wealth is  the cornerstone of my Government’s plan to build a sustainable,  prosperous society for the benefit of all. Consequently, my  Government intends to undertake a review of the Minimum Wage  Order through a collaborative review of wages with the private  and public sectors, with a view to increase the minimum wage.  

Additionally, to address cash flow challenges, and to increase the  volume of business transactions in the economy, my Government  is operationalising its plan to pay public servants twice per month  within the first quarter of 2023. This will be done in collaboration with  the private sector to have this practice standardised throughout the  country and my Government is happy to indicate that some private  sector businesses have already begun to pay their employees twice  per month. 

Further, my Government is cognisant of the fact that the  implementation of public projects, programmes and policies has  differential impacts on women and men that must be considered.  Importantly, therefore, gender mainstreaming will be applied  across all priority programmes, policies, and projects to reduce  gender disparities in keeping with the Sustainable Development  Goals (SDGs) and the National Sustainable Development Plan  (NSDP).

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

At present, the economy is facing an unprecedented level of  uncertainty. Lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, new  public health concerns such as the Monkeypox virus, Russia’s  war in Ukraine, high and rising global inflation, global supply  chain challenges, geo-political strains, and tighter financial market  conditions, pose the greatest risks to the global economy, and by  extension, Grenada’s macroeconomic and fiscal outlook.  

Based on data collected for the first six months of this year, our  economy is expected to register positive growth for 2022 and 2023,  though the projection for 2023 is for weak growth given the global  economic outlook. Total public debt at the end of June 2022 stood at  2.1 billion dollars or 66.2 percent of GDP, and the full year estimate  is 67.6 percent of GDP. 

Cognisant of the existing economic realities, my Government will  pursue a path of prudent fiscal management to preserve credibility  and safeguard medium-term fiscal and debt sustainability, while  cushioning the impact of a harsh macroeconomic environment on  citizens, especially the most vulnerable.  

The fiscal position of my Government is projected to improve  in 2023 and over the medium term. The underlying objective of  my Government’s medium-term fiscal strategy is to support its  transformational agenda, while simultaneously safeguarding fiscal  credibility and sustainability.  

The fiscal forecasts are subject to review and revision prior to the  Budget presentation later in the year, given the prevailing and  potentially grave macroeconomic uncertainties. 

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

The legislative agenda for the upcoming period will be driven by  my Government’s focus – Transformative Development: Towards  a Sustainable, Equitable and Prosperous Grenada. 

The proposed legislative agenda will cover the following areas,  among others: 

  • Digital Transformation 
  • Natural Resource Preservation 
  • Renewable Energy 
  • Urban Planning 
  • Labour Relations 

Madame President, Mr. Speaker. 

The people of Grenada have chosen transformation and my  Government is fully committed to delivering on its mandate. This  is an exciting time for our nation; one that is filled with palpable  hope and the promise of a brighter future. True and lasting success  can only be achieved with the support and action of all citizens,  both at home and in the Diaspora. Let us embody the words of our  national anthem and “advance as one people” as we collectively  seek to uplift Grenada. The time is now. 

In this context, my Government reaffirms its major focus for this  session of Parliament as: Transformative Development: Towards a  Sustainable, Equitable and Prosperous Grenada. 

Madame President, Mr. Speaker, Members of Parliament. 

As we embark on this journey towards self-actualisation as a nation,  I close with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: 

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We  are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding  conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too  late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for  vigorous and positive action.” 

It is therefore my distinct pleasure to declare the First Session of the  Eleventh Parliament open. 

Thank you and may God continue to bless us all.